Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) endorses the Movement for Black Lives and their historic policy platform “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice.” This platform reflects the vision, courage, and collective will of more than 50 organizations and thousands of Black people struggling to make real the insight that “all lives will only matter when Black lives matter.”
One of the central tenets of this platform is that a just society is only possible when there is an economic system that fosters Black power, freedom, and justice. Let’s be clear: an economy directly rooted in the theft of Black labor and liberty and the trade of Black bodies was never intended to work for communities of color. The persistent and pernicious racial wealth gap - where the median net worth of a white family in 2013 was $141,900 compared to only $11,000 for the average Black family - is a direct result of explicitly and implicitly racist public policies and corporate practices. To transform the root causes of wealth inequality, we must acknowledge and dismantle the structural racism that underpins our current economic system. SELC is committed to playing our role in that process.
“Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice” is both comprehensive and a work in progress. Everyday at SELC, we see how systems of law, politics, and economics intersect and that no one policy can fully address issues as complex as those that the Movement For Black Lives seeks to address. That’s why we are excited and committed to supporting this holistic vision for change, one rooted in self-determination for Black communities as a pre-condition for a world that actually works for all people. While we have been working alongside many organizations and communities for years to further some of the demands included in the Economic Justice, Invest-Divest, and Community Control sections of this platform, we are also fully aware that those efforts alone will not bring about the world we want to see without also addressing mass incarceration, insufficient and unequal schooling, the insidious power of money in politics, militarization at home and abroad, and the many other entwined issues that this platform confronts.
In reading this practical yet visionary document, we have also taken the opportunity to reflect on our responsibility and role in the movement for racial justice and collective liberation. We are inspired to continue thinking more deeply about how we can both learn from the Movement for Black Lives and others working on the frontlines of racial, economic, and climate justice, while leveraging our position of relative privilege to shift resources - money, knowledge, legal and political access - to people and groups that are structurally excluded and historically marginalized. We share the belief that it is necessary and possible to imagine a world beyond racialized inequality, and we are committed to making that vision a little more real everyday.
With love, respect, and solidarity -
Sustainable Economies Law Center staff